Broiled and grilled seafood items, like grilled meats, are increasingly popular. Customers perceive them as simpler and more healthful and, because they are prepared quickly, as fitting the faster pace of modern life.
Grilled dishes are, in their purest form, simple and straightforward, but they lend themselves to many variations in presentation. By varying sauces, vegetable accompaniments, and garnishes, you can offer a great assortment of grilled fish on the menu. And, because the sauces and accompaniments are generally prepared ahead of time, these dishes are still quick to prepare, even if the presentation is elaborate.
A slightly crisped, browned, or grill-marked surface is important to the appeal of grilled or broiled fish. Do not cover the item with sauce, and do not serve too much sauce. A small piece of seasoned butter or a drizzle of a flavorful condiment or sauce can be used to decorate the top of the item. In most other cases, it is better to place sauces on the side.Appropriate healthful sauces include vegetable coulis and salsas. For richer dishes, beurre blanc is a good accompaniment, especially for lean fish like halibut.
Another popular approach is to serve the fish without a sauce, except perhaps for a small dab of a condiment such as a relish or chutney, and to complement the fish with an attractive variety of vegetables.
Guidelines for Broiling or Grilling Fish_
1. Because of the intense heat of the broiler, great care is needed to avoid overcooking the fish.
2. Select appropriate fish for broiling or grilling. Small slices and thin fillets are usually too delicate to be placed directly on the grid of a broiler or grill. Arrange them on oiled sheet pans, broiler platters, or other baking dishes or pans, and cook under a broiler. Whole fish or thick slices of firm fish such as salmon, shark, and swordfish can be placed directly on the grill if care is taken to avoid breaking them up. Be sure the grid is clean and oiled to prevent sticking.
3. Fat fish is best for broiling because it doesn't get as dry as lean fish. However, all fish, fat or lean, should be coated with a fat before broiling to reduce drying.
4. Lean fish may be dredged in flour before dipping in oil or melted butter. The flour helps form a flavorful browned crust.
5. Instead of being dredged with flour, fish may be coated with fat and then with bread crumbs or cornmeal. Use caution, however, as bread crumbs burn very easily. Use this technique only with items that cook quickly.
6. If the fish has an attractive skin (such as red snapper and black sea bass), the skin may be left on and used as the presentation side. This enhances appearance and also helps hold the delicate flesh together. Make sure the fish is thoroughly scaled. To prevent splitting during cooking, score the skin with a sharp knife, making a series of parallel cuts across the fish or cutting in a diamond pattern for larger fish. For small fillets, scoring may not be necessary.
8. Broiled fish may be garnished lightlywith paprika if more color is desired. But don't overdo it. A common fault in broiling or baking fish is coating them with a heavy layer of paprika, which ruins their delicate flavor.
9. Thick cuts should be turned once during broiling in order to cook evenly. Thin pieces may be arranged on an oiled pan and broiled on one side only. Lobster is also broiled without turning.
Pr rocedure for Broiling or Grilling Fish
1. Collect all equipment and food supplies.
2. Prepare the fish as required: Season and coat with oil or butter, with flour and then fat, or with fat and then bread crumbs or cornmeal.
4. With a wire brush, remove burned or charred particles of food from the broiler grate or grill. Brush the grate with an oiled cloth to coat it lightly with oil.
5. Broil thick cuts on both sides, turning once. Broil thin pieces on one side only.
6. Serve immediately, with appropriate sauce and garnish.
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